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EU's new deal with Russia

By Staff
EU's new deal with Russia

MILIBAND:I think that in the context of the global economic crisis, which has demonstrated Russia's vulnerabilities rather than its strengths, there is a new possibility of ensuring that EU unity is able to engage properly with Russia and engage in a way that respects our interests and our principles and values. I think that's the right way of going about it because in the end isolating Russia is not a good option for us. Far better to engage, but in a systematic and hard-headed way.

That's not the view of Lithuania, backed by Poland. They insist that Russia has failed to keep its commitments and shouldn't be rewarded. But under EU rules, they don't have a veto on talks that were simply postponed, not suspended. If the foreign ministers give a green light today, talks on the new agreement could resume in time for the EU-Russia summit in Nice later this week. For despite the shadow cast by the conflict in Georgia, Russia remains the EU's biggest energy supplier and its third largest trading partner, while the EU is the biggest investor in Russia.

Oana Lungescu, BBC News, Brussels

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